Gamification applied in industry

To simply describe Gamification it is a process were design elements from games are put in another domain to create user engagement. This pilot will demonstrate how gamification can be applied in industry to create more user engagement. Why is that important?

To get next generation people to want to work in the industry.
To utilize the competence and skills of the next generation.
To change what today is called the industry’s room of boredom to a place where people want to work.

Industry has for the last several years started to demand new approaches towards handling the challenge of how to attract and retain the next generation of control room personnel.

One key challenge is when young operators start their new job. They are often enthusiastic and keen to learn new things in the beginning, but after a short period of time they often loose enthusiasm and motivation for their work. An operator typically monitors and supervises the process from a control room looking at the process graphics that describe the process flow in the factory. The system is not very engaging, mainly containing numbers and icons; in addition, the graphics can contain thousands of views that might be difficult to navigate and keep track of. The operators need to stay focused to be able to react to alarms and other events as soon as possible. However, the system might not always be designed in the best way to provide situation awareness for these young new operators. They shift from moments of high activity to moments of low activity, and from moments of low activity to moments of stressful troubleshooting and alarm handling. This situation presents challenges such as how to keep operators motivated over time when their main role is to monitor tasks during long periods of time in which no interaction is needed unless an alarm occurs in the control system they are monitoring. Another challenge is to make these new young operators effective at work where the systems used typically were developed and designed for users that grew up in the 1940th to 1950th usually with years of experience from field work in same industry.

In academia, the next generation entering the workforce are known as Generation G. This generation of potential future control room operators have grown up with games to more of an extent than any other generation prior. Gamification research is something that academia is currently addressing. It is a growing trend in academia and is strongly connected to Generation G. Gamification describes the process of using game-design thinking for designing non-game applications and systems to engage the audience, motivate use, change behavior, enhance user experience and for problem-solving.

In this pilot we will demonstrate new thinking, and how gamification can be applied to show how to create an environment where next generation is effective and where they want to work.

The goal of the project is to gain a better understanding of both industry and the game world presenting these findings with a prototype that can inspire the future of industrial applications. PiiA and FindIt has identified gamification as a strategic topic and is currently driving a pre-study in this field, with this pilot we want to build on what we learnt in this pre-study and build a demonstrator spreading results cross-industries.

The goal of this pilot is to:

  1. Develop a prototype applying gamification that address the problem of engagement and boredom in control rooms.  Target users will be control room operators. The prototype will show how design element and game thinking can be applied to create more engaging solutions for same industrial problem. This prototype will be tested with young technical students (high school/gymnasium) that represent the potential operators of the future.
  2. Use game thinking and technologies can be used to show and visualize the power of digitalization.
  3. Propose a continuation formulating a next step of applying gamification in industry. Based on this pilot’s experiences this continuation would explore when it is applicable to apply gamification, formulate how to do it and when it does not make sense. The result from this continuation would be used as guidance for companies taking over results, getting inspired and getting the means to develop new engaging solutions getting the experiences also on the how gained in this pilot. 

The project partners are: ABB Corporate Research, Stora Enso (Skutskär)